Today was our weekly shower, and it was heavenly. We trekked back from our camp site to our car, which took us about two hours (my feet were dying in my water-logged steel-toed boots), and then drove about three hours back to base camp. It took us so long because half of the way back we were driving on logging roads, which are filled with pot holes and ruts. Very bumpy. Also, we have to get out of the way when a logging truck comes by. We only met one, but it was flying. Luckily, we were yielding and not already on the road, because we might have been toast if he hadn't seen our relatively tiny suburban because of the dust or if he just hadn't stopped in time.
Anyways, our work week started on Saturday. We were the first team out, pulling out of base camp just around 7 A.M. After the five-hour commute (car and hike), we finally arrived at our campsite. Our tools got flown in, which was fantastic (but we have to carry them back out next week . . .). Apparently Rainbow Lake is a very popular fishing spot, but it's remote, so a lot of fishermen get flown out in tiny planes. After setting up camp and eating lunch, we hiked another mile along the AT to our work site, checked it out, and learned what our job was from our supervisor (who is just . . . beyond words. A description will have to wait for a later time, lol).
Sunday was the start of actual work. Up at 6, starting at 7. My sleep schedule has completely turned around. We go to sleep around nine. One night we actually turned in around 7 PM because it was raining and we didn't really have anything else to do (I got a lot of reading done that night!). So we dug a ditch and drain the first day. It's basically a really long hole that builds the trail a little to the side and allows the water to drain better. Then we rip-rapped it, which is placing rocks along the side.
This section of the AT is pretty mucky, so our big job is to set a lot of step stones. That's basically what we did Monday and Tuesday. We quarried huge rocks in the area, which is a long process because they're deep in the ground and it takes a few of us to move them (with rock bars, webbing, and sometimes pure physical strength or frustration). And digging the holes for them is sometimes tough because the path is either covered with roots or it's buried in the mud, so you can't see what you're doing. Either way, it takes a while. We ended up setting about 13 stones altogether. We're supposed to do about 40 in all, I think, so we have next week to reach that goal.
The bugs were pretty horrendous. No wonder God sent flies to Egypt. Crikey. We were lured into a false sense of security at base camp, because it's such a nice atmosphere. But then we landed at our campsite for work, and they just swarmed on us within a minute. I don't think our bug nets came off for more than a few minutes at a time (they're nets they you wear on your head - very attractive - very tricky to eat under - and they don't completely keep the bugs out). We were forced to eat dinner while walking in a circle some nights, because if we sat still, they'd attack us. Our only respites were when it rained (like on Sunday and Monday) or when the weather was cooler. Hopefully we'll be a bit more prepared next week, but today, I think I have at least a hundred bites on various parts of my body. Fun!
I should go. The library closes in 45 minutes and I want to see if they've got some good books. I finished the first section of Little Dorrit this week, so I want to take a break from Dickens for a while, give something else a shot. Maybe I'll finish the fourth SoT book! :) I have off until Friday evening, so hopefully I'll get a chance to update again in more detail! Until then, live long and prosper!